Gilbert'S Syndrome

1 What is Gilbert's Syndrome?

Gilbert's syndrome is a common disorder that affects the liver making it unable to process bilirubin.

It is, however, harmless to the liver. Bilirubin is generated by the destruction of the red blood cells in the liver.

It is also referred to as constitutional hepatic dysfunction and also nonhemolytic jaundice since one can be born with it as a result of inherited mutation.

Often, people may not know that they have the condition until when it is discovered by accident especially as a result of high levels of bilirubin levels. This disease does not need treatment.

2 Symptoms

The main symptoms of Gilbert's syndrome are:

  • yellowing of the skin
  • whites of eyes from excessive jaundice due to elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood.

Some of the conditions that promote the increase in bilirubin and jaundice in people suffering from Gilbert’s syndrome include illness as a result of cold or flu, fasting and eating low calorie diet, excessive dehydration, stress, strenuous exercise, lack of sleep.

It is recommended that one needs to see a doctor immediately it is discovered.

3 Causes

Gilbert’s syndrome is caused by inheritance of an abnormal gene from parents.

The gene is responsible for the regulation of the enzyme that break down bilirubin in the liver.

Consequently, the defective gene leads to the accumulation of the bilirubin in the blood leading to the formation of excessive jaundice.

Bilirubin is a yellow pigment present in the body from the breakdown of the red blood cells.

They are often transported in the bloodstream to the liver where they are metabolized as a way of removing them from the bloodstream.

It is also passed from the liver to the intestines in the form of bile. It can also be excreted in the stool. Some of the bilirubin remains in the blood.

The abnormal gene is common among people. Often, people carry one copy of the gene. However, two abnormal copies are required to cause Gilbert’s syndrome.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Making a diagnosis of Gilbert's syndrome is done by performing several tests.

Often, the status of the liver will be evaluated to establish the association with Gilbert’s syndrome. It sometimes comes with abdominal pain or dark urine.

Blood tests may be performed as a rule to test for liver problems which are associated with high levels of bilirubin.

Other common test includes blood count and liver function tests.

A combination of blood and liver function tests together with bilirubin levels is a positive indicator of Gilbert’s syndrome.

Genetic testing may also be done to confirm the diagnosis.

5 Treatment

It is known that Gilbert's syndrome as a disease does not require any form of treatment.

The levels of bilirubin in the blood may, however, fluctuate over time, occasionally jaundice will also be detected and will always resolve on their own without anybody ill effects being noticed.

6 Prevention

To prevent complications associated with Gilbert's Syndrome, it is important to follow a healthy lifestyle.

It is always important to plan on see your personal doctor who may refer you to a specialist.

A bit before getting for an appointment, it is essential to do some preparation for the interview. Write down a few of the questions that you may want to get some clarification from the medical doctor.

Some of the possible questions may include:

  • Are my levels of bilirubin significantly elevated?
  • Do is need to do frequent testing to check my levels of bilirubin?
  • Is the Gilbert’s syndrome responsible for the signs and symptoms?
  • Do the medications make the condition be worse?
  • Can it also make the complications of the liver severe?
  • Is there any risk of developing gallstones?
  • Is there any other way through which low bilirubin levels can be maintained?
  • Is the presence of Jaundice in the body harmful?
  • What is the likelihood of transmitting Gilbert’s syndrome disease to my children?

This will enable him to develop prevention strategies to prevent further severity in the condition.

7 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with Gilbert's syndrome.

There are certain life events that can cause the elevation of bilirubin levels in the body such as stress in conditions of Gilbert’s syndrome.

This may lead to elevated levels of jaundice. Managing stress can, therefore, be an essential way of keeping bilirubin levels in check.

Also, ensure that you inform your doctor about your Gilbert’s syndrome condition since it affects the liver and may affect the way medications may be metabolized.

It is also recommended that one can eat a healthy diet with low calorie diet. Always stick to the routine eating plan and avoid bad eating habits of skipping meals or fasting.

Find essential ways of managing stress in life through the use of exercise or listening to music.

8 Risks and Complications

There are several risks associated with Gilbert's disease.

This condition develops from birth and may never be noticed until at puberty or even later.

But one may be at risk of increased Gilbert’s syndrome disease when both of the parents have an abnormal gene which causes the disorder.

It is also more prevalent among the men. Some of the complications include Low levels of bilirubin processing enzyme which cause Gilbert’s syndrome.

It also increases the side effects of the use of certain medications. The enzymes play a role in removing the medication from the body.

Some of the drugs with increased side effects in Gilbert’s disease include Irinotecan used for the treatment of cancer and protease inhibitors for HIV treatments.

Always tell your doctor before getting any new medication. It also increases the risk of developing gallstones.

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